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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Inflammation: The Leukocyte Adhesion Cascade

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Aug 12, 2001 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This site describes in detail the molecular and cellular events that occur as leukocytes contact, adhere to, and cross the endothelium of capillaries during an inflammatory reaction. It reviews five steps of the adhesion cascade: capture, rolling, slow rolling, firm adhesion, and transmigration. The site has extensive descriptions of the different molecules and processes involved in getting leukocytes from the blood to the sites of inflammation. In addition to a description of the process at the cellular and molecular level, there are also links to 3D rasmol models of the proteins, the DNA sequences in Genbank, and to the literature references in the Entrez database that forms the basis of the account provided.
Target Student Population: College (Upper division and Graduate)
Type of Material: Interactive Lesson/Tutorial
Technical Requirements: HTML, a rasmol viewer plugin if the links to the 3D structures are repaired.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:

Quality of Content: (4.0)(4.0) = 4.0




  • The site offers a good description of the migration of leukocytes from the
    blood across the endothelium and into the surrounding tissue.

  • One of the site's authors is an active researcher in this field and
    the material is current and accurate.

Concerns:
  • However, the site is not complete, with several entries missing; pages on
    e-selectin, trauma, glycosylation, leading edge, and trailing edge are all
    still under construction and many of the pagesd on't have their links to Entrez
    or Genbank yet.


Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:


Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool: (3.5)(4.0) = 3.8



  • The extensive hyperlinked design makes it easy for the student to see how
    all of the different proteins and processes are connected. This would help
    to build the students knowledge and to develop a conceptual understanding
    of the process.

Concerns:
  • However, it is a static web site without any interactive components, there
    are no stated learning objectives, nor any problems or questions to promote
    active student involvement.



Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:


Usability: (4.0)(3.5) = 3.8



  • Overall usability is good as every page has extensive hyper links to other
    relevant sections of the site, so a student can move freely through the material.

  • While there are no back buttons due to the free-form design, every page
    has a series of links at the bottom showing the main line through the site
    as well as a side frame with the same links. Some of the material on the site
    is hard to find, however, since it is only accessible through hyperlinks from
    individual words.

  • The text is well written although it uses language that would be difficult
    to follow for someone without a good basic understanding of biology.

Concerns:

  • Unfortunately, all of the links to the 3D structures are currently broken
    as the 3D structure database has moved and there are other links and pages
    that aren't finished or are broken.

  • The fact that the graphics require 1024 x 768 screen resolution to display
    properly is a significant distraction for those students with monitors set
    for 800 x 600.



Features of Excellence:




  • The use of imagemaps and hyperlinked text gives the student many ways to
    see the interconnections between all of the parts of this complicated process.



Recommendations:





  • The web site is optimized for 1024 x 768 pixel screen resolution so that
    with a screen set to display 800 x 600 pixels or less, part of the page is
    always off the screen. Optimizing the display for 800 x 600 screen resolution
    would be a big improvement and would avoid the necessity of constantly having
    to use horizontal sliders.

  • There are a 10-12 broken links that need fixing including some internal
    links.

  • Many of the pages can only be reached be clicking on specific words in other
    pages making it hard to find everything that is present on the site. A complete
    index or site map would improve this site.


Overall rating: (3.5) (3.8) = 3.7